COVID-19: Red Meat in the Red Zone

Red Zone

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — If I had a job writing fortune cookies, I may say something like this:

Confucius Says: When endeavoring to dig, dig deep.

If you’d like an example, I’d be glad to provide one: the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lot of raw data and numbers, but little peeling away of the layers for enhanced discovery.

An outlet called WalletHub – and you can roll your eyes all you want, but it is independent and nonpartisan – recently released ranking of the states with the highest and lowest health improvements.

In order to determine where Americans’ health is recovering or worsening the most from the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus where reopening efforts can accelerate, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 13 key metrics. Those include the COVID-19 death rate, hospitalization rate and the rate at which people test positive. This report focuses on the latest developments in each state rather than which states have been hit the hardest throughout the pandemic.

The results:

Highest ranked (in order): New York, Wyoming, Maine, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Michigan and Vermont.

Lowest ranked (starting from the bottom): Mississippi, Florida, Idaho, Alabama, Nevada, Texas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia and Louisiana.

Now go to your figurative garages, basements or sheds. Get out your shovels. Let’s dig deeper.

There is a consistent pattern here.

Of the higher-ranked states, only Wyoming and Michigan were in the win column for your president (not mine) in 2016, and it is highly unlikely the swing state of Michigan will land there again come November. On the other side, we have Nevada as a state that went blue in 2016. The rest? Not only were they red, blood they were deep red. They were blood red.

So what?

Well, the blue stats tended to listen to the doctors and the scientists, practicing social distancing and wearing masks. The density of New York City caused initial problems there, but forward thinking overcame them.

Misleading by example, and with an orange head in the sand, the entity that calls itself your president (not mine) disregarded the science and the doctors, often even chiding his own handpicked experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, carried more sway with his people.

There was less wearing of masks and social distancing, and the consequences are evident.

“One of the main factors that contributed to some states flattening the COVID-19 curve while others failed is the presence of mandatory social distancing and mask wearing restrictions. States that don’t require all residents to wear masks, such as Florida and Arizona, have had some of the highest death rates recently,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “States that waited longer before easing up on their COVID-19 restrictions, such as Connecticut, tend to be doing better than those that reopened quickly or never had large-scale closures in the first place.”

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